House Rep. John Bertiz’s arrogance mirrors the character of the Filipino people

All-too-familiar: Compliance to rules is negotiable in the Philippines so long as people know who you are.

The brouhaha over House Representative John Bertiz not removing his shoes for a security check at the Manila International Airport is, itself, evidence that rules and the Law don’t really rule in the Philippines. In a modern society of laws, such a display of arrogance would have been swiftly dealt with and not have required a video to go “viral” for steps to have been taken to resolve it. This being the Philippines, however, the Bertiz circus is being feasted upon by the media and a cadre of “activists” only too eager to politicise it. In reality, the law, even in this instance takes a back seat to the arguments of the poorly-educated. It is an irony that flies over the heads of the Philippines’ self-appointed “thought leaders”.

One really can’t take seriously the “outrage” over this latest circus exhibited by a people who, on a day-to-day basis, tolerate banal violation of their laws. On a given day, jeepneys drivers flout traffic rules with impunity, parasites squat on public and private property, pedestrians spit and urinate on sidewalks, and entire households dump rubbish and raw sewage down rainwater channels. Up the food chain, it is the same. The crimes are just bigger and impact more people further up. But the attitudes are no different to the average Filipino schmoe on the street. Filipinos, in general, feel they are above the law and are entitled to be treated special.

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Filipinos wonder why the crooks, miscreants, and buffoons — from jeepney drivers all the way up to top government officials — who rampage through life breaking Philippine laws don’t suffer the consequences that befit their anti-social ways. Right there in that video of Bertiz berating an airport official is the answer. It is easy to be outraged by Bertiz’s behaviour. But not too many of these outrage faddists would think of questioning why the airport official Bertiz accosted did not assert his right to apply the rules he is duty-bound to uphold. Right there and then, this airport official should have taken Bertiz into custody for acting in a threatening manner to an officer of the facility.

The bigger lesson here is that officers of the law and those tasked with overseeing the security of public facilities should be empowered to assert their authority. There are procedures for stopping, disarming, and taking into custody people who refuse to comply to rules. At some point, Bertiz was clearly subject to such procedures. The airport official should have acted accordingly. That this “incident” has since been elevated to the Court of Public Opinion and is being feasted upon by Big Corporate Media and Filipino “activists” is, by itself, an expo of just how dysfunctional Philippine society is. We really should step back and regard this bigger picture and understand the deep-rooted source of why Philippine society continuously churns out not just pricks like Bertiz but flaccid officers such as that NAIA official who didn’t do his job the whole way.

Rappler ‘reporter’ harasses a Presidential Security Group officer who was merely doing his job.

On that note, one could not help but admire the officer of the Presidential Security Group who stood up to Rappler reporter Pia Ranada when she acted in that all-too-familiar self-entitled manner within Malacanang premises. He did his job in a professional manner. The unprofessional behaviour of Ranada, on the other hand, was on exhibit to provide context to this excellent conduct of what could have been a nasty incident. In that incident, one can quickly note how the Philippine media encourage bad behaviour in a set of professionals long known for the disproportionate sense of entitlement they routinely exhibit. Politicians like Bertiz and “journalists” like Ranada should be taken to task for acting on what, essentially, are impulses ingrained in them by Philippine society itself.

The only true pathway to curing the Philippines of this deep malaise is to engage in deep reflection. On one hand, incidents such as that of Bertiz and Ranada should be called out. But there is much in the way of how much respect Filipinos accord the officers who oversee, administer, and enforce rules and laws. Philippine “activism” and the mainstream media industry that supports them have swung too far out to coddle law-breakers and paint them as “victims” rather than as the crooks and anti-social undesireables that they really are. The results of this misguided approach are on display in the news and in what “trend” in our social media feeds today. Its products are people like Bertiz, those bozos who were subject to viral video hell, and the many more unnamed psychos who routinely flout the law and escape scrutiny and the consequences of their actions. Filipinos should follow the law and lawbreakers should suffer the consequence with or without media circuses or videos going “viral”. A society that quietly upholds the law is a society that can truly earn the respect of its people.

27 Replies to “House Rep. John Bertiz’s arrogance mirrors the character of the Filipino people”

  1. Two Things:
    1. Chinese escorted by NAIA officers without having them remove their shoes
    2. Bertiz incensed … he wanted his shoes not removed …
    3. Two Things:
    4. Crooks in NAIA escorted Chinese without removing their shoes.
    5. Bertiz wanting to be like Chinese also wanted not to remove his shoes.

    NAIA officers are Filipinos. Bertiz is Filipino. ALL FILIPNOS. ALL CROOKS. AM NOT SURPRISED.


    I LOVE FILIPINOS. What if they were Ayalas to Zobels? HOW WOULD THESE IJIT REACT? all of them would drop to their knees … before their colonists …

    1. You are misinformed moron! There is no Chinese based on the review of NAIA officials. It is just a lame excuse of your honorable congressman. And lastly never generalize all Filipinos as crooks because of your ignorant mind.

  2. I will say that civil disobedience isn’t rampant in only Filipinos, but rather modern society in general. Every special snowflake out there feels that the law does not apply to them. If you lurk around the internet, you’ll see “horror stories” of diners refusing to give their ID when paying with their credit card; a recent meme where a woman wants to bypass the entire line just because she’s a mom who already gave birth; and the modern American SJW activism of equality of outcome over equality of opportunity.

    As for the airport officials that should have asserted their authority… while that is the right thing to happen, we’re not exactly sure if that is the safest. If you would recall a similar viral video involving the Binays when going out an exclusive subdivision. The gate is already closed, the guards stuck to their posts, and the security insisted the Binay entourage go another way. What happened then? Binay entourage threatened the guards at gunpoint, and forced the gate open.

    1. There is already a civil disobedience among Filipinos …
      They are naturally disobedient …
      They do not obey the laws ….
      Their laws are mere suggestions: TO FOLLOW or NOT TO FOLLOW, TO BREAK OR NOT TO BREAK THE LAWS. Laws in the Philippines are OPTIONAL.

      1. That does seem to be the case unfortunately.

        People will only obey because of fear of public scrutiny, not because of the inherent reason that law is there in the first place (mostly peace and order, security and all that).

  3. i think in the philippines they martial law to eradicate philippine activism and arrest its leaders. otherwise, pilipinos won’t be able to move on.

  4. Without making excuses for that guy, the whole “put your shoes through the X-ray” thing is a classic example of Filipinos blindly imposing rules without understanding the purpose of them.

    I accidentally went through THREE x-ray scanners with a knife in my luggage (not a weapon, I hasten to add – just an ordinary DIY tool that I’d been using and forgot to remove from the bag). Nobody noticed. But they did want me to x-ray my shoes. What are they looking for in there? Would they even recognise a shoe stuffed with drugs? I have absolutely no doubt criminals fly contraband through Filipino airports day in and day out, while the idiots manning the scanners are horsing around and watching videos on Facebook.

    Filipinos break the rules not just because they think they’re special, but because 90% of the rules are outrageously stupid. Half the time, the people making the rules are smart enough to design rules that work, or to understand the consequences of rules that don’t. The rest of the time, the rules are DELIBERATELY designed to make sure somebody, somewhere, can skim something out of the cashbox. Under those circumstances, circumventing the rules is actually an act of patriotism.

    Unfortunately, Filipinos-at-large are just as useless at distinguishing good laws from bad laws as the people who write them.

    1. Indeed, there is a lot of talk about the appalling way Filipinos drive but not much directed at the way road signage and markings are designed and implemented. When the rules don’t make sense and are inconsistent, it is hard to enforce compliance.

        1. do you ever listen to yourself?

          Why would Martial Law improve the quality of lawmaking? Isn’t it equally likely that lawmakers will have less incentive to think before legislating?

  5. In the world of the elite, you may not be an elite, but you must adapt and think like an elite. Rules and Laws are for the ordinary people to follow, but not for the elite, which everybody think they are.

    The elite always have the God syndrome and hypocritic hero character.
    Bertiz – God syndrome
    Ranada – Hypocritic hero

    Both do not care about laws, rules and regulations.

    1. It is called FILIPINOSITIS. Filipinositis is the malady plaguing the Filipinos.

      It must be unfortunate and embarrassing circumstance being a Filipino. And they are proud of it.


      1. And Filipinos are so called Gof fearing people and a “pure” Catholics? Well, this might be the end result on why the Filipino people cannot develop on their own unlike other Asian countries like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, etc. That will make the “Stupid God” proud.

  6. The Sense of Entitlement is in our dysfunctional culture. Our leaders think they are above the law; so this Congressman Bertiz thinks, he should not remove his shoes to be inspected as a potential terrorist. “You know who I am ?”, is the question these lawmaker idiots ask, if being confronted by an ordinary employee.

    Most of the Filipinos violate every law, from sanitation to traffic laws to squat to own, to outright thieving of things, money and items. Because they have the Sense of Entitlement for them.

    Former COMELEC Chief Andres Bautista, the 2016 crook, who have multiple bank accounts, and was the cause of the 2016 election fraud is now living a good life in the U.S., enjoying his loot. Did anyone arrested him or even filed charges against him ?

    Filipino children were used as “guinea pigs”, to the test, if the Dengvaxia vaccine will work. The result : vaccinated Filipino children are dying like “guinea pigs”. Did anyone arrested those responsible , or even filed charges against them ?

    Crooks feasted on the DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel Bribery, Pork Barrels without projects. I have not seen all the crooks jailed, or even charges filed against them. They are running around scott free and enjoying their loots.

    The powerful are entitled to be above the law. We, the ordinary citizens will also violate the law, as long as we don’t get caught !

  7. Elitism is like building the tower of Babel, trying to reach the level of God. But the elite can never reach this level because at a certain height there will be envy and misunderstanding at each other, and the tower will be destroyed, and they will build it again.

    1. sarda: only in the Philippines is “elite” a dirty word. Back in my world, the word means “the best of the best”. I wish Filipinos would find a different word to describe the ruling classes.

      1. Change the word “elite” into “arrogance” and that’s what the TRUE meaning of Philippine elite cultures — ARROGANCE!!!

        1. The most I can think of a substitute word is “transcendental” or “transcendental being” but this already refers to supernatural being like God and the word itself is not as common as the word “elite”.

        2. I was searching for a noun. The words commonly used in English (eg., “The Man”, “The Powers-That-Be”) don’t quite capture the combination of malevolence, political savvy, and intellectual poverty that characterizes the ruling classes of the Philippines.

      2. Who is the best?
        I remember in the bible Jesus was asked the the question, “Who is the greatest?”
        And he responded, “who among you is the least of all is the greatest”.
        My interpretation of it, “who among you is the most ordinary”.
        My view of Pilipino society, PIlipinos are having a hard time trying to become ordinary, which is really kind of sad, since I see Jesus as the epitome being ordinary.
        My question: Would there be corruption in society if everyone aspire to become ordinary?
        Another question: Is being ordinary a show of arrogance or humility?
        My answer to your question, the word “elite” is bad because it produces arrogant people that most of the time forget what humility means.

        Not much of a bible reader, but whenever I read Pilipinos quoting from Theroux, Emerson, Kants…, my only conclusion is that these people are just trying to make themselves look like “educated”, expecting that the low educated will become bewildered and lift or elevate his/her being a notch higher over the ordinary, a display of arrogance, a display of elitism.

        1. @sarda: that’s an interesting perspective. I think you’re right that many Filipinos have not mastered the art of being “ordinary”. After all, most of us aren’t particularly talented, clever, wise, or good. But the “ordinary” Filipino doesn’t know where to go with that. He either decides to sit on his ass outside the sari-sari store, drinking, talking shit with his retarded buddies, and impregnating any low-self-esteem female who makes the mistake of having sex with him; or he fills his own head with illusions of his own grandeur, pretending to be something he isn’t and can never be.

          However, I disagree with you that being “elite” necessarily results in arrogance. In fact people who are highly skilled often under-rate their own abilities. It’s the people who are ignorant who are most arrogant (it’s known as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”, after the psychologists who first described it).

          As for you comparison with Jesus, while he was ordinary in many ways, I think you’ll agree that he was extraordinary in others. “Elite” does not have to mean “the best at everything”. For example, an “elite soldier” is extremely good at soldiering. He would probably be less good at running a daycare centre.

  8. The insufferable arrogance of human beings to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit, as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set afire merely to ripen men’s apples and head their cabbages.

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